Why is the Battle of Roundway known as Run-away Down?

Hazelrigg's Lobsters, a regiment of Curiassiers, were destroyed at Roundway Down

Hazelrigg’s Lobsters, a regiment of Curiassiers, were destroyed at Roundway Down

In July 1643 a combined-arms Parliamentarian army under Sir William Waller was comprehensively defeated by a Royalist cavalry force under Henry, Lord Wilmot on the downs above the village of Roundway near Devizes in Wiltshire.

Waller blamed his defeat on others. Strategically he blamed the Earl of Essex for allowing Wilmot to leave Oxford and ride into Wiltshire unmolested. Tactically he blamed his Horse – accusing them of both poor performance and bad morale. But what was the real cause of the failure of Parliament’s mounted troops at Roundway and, indeed, for most of the early part of the war?

Dr Chris Scott has researched in-depth the personalities, campaign histories, weapons and tactics of the British Civil Wars. He will present his paper at the Helion English Civil War Conference on Saturday 19 September – outlining his thoughts on how a combination of factors led Waller’s Horse to fare so badly as to allow this particular battle to become known as Run-away Down.

After the battle, the Parliamentarian cavalry came to grief fleeing down these slopes

After the battle, the Parliamentarian cavalry came to grief fleeing down these slopes

Dr Chris Scott – Biography

Dr Chris Scott was Head of Education for the Royal Armouries at Her Majesty’s Tower of London. He is a member of the Battlefields Trust, the Royal Historical Society, the Guild of Battlefield Guides and the British Commission for Military History.  He has represented Britain at the International Historical Sciences Congress and is a published writer and authority on many aspects of the social and military history of the English Civil Wars, the Monmouth Rebellion and the War of the Spanish Succession.  He has an impressive list of book and television credits.

Battlefields Trust information panel at Roundway Down

Battlefields Trust information panel at Roundway Down

Chris has been walking battlefields for more than 40 years – analysing ground and tactics. He has guided bodies of international historians, senior officers and ‘battlefield experts’ over sites of Cromwell’s, Marlborough’s, and Wellington’s victories. His academic critique for battlefield study is becoming established. He gained his doctorate under Professor Richard Holmes at Cranfield University with a ground-breaking investigation into the Restoration Militia.

Currently, Chris is a freelance lecturer, battlefield guide, author, and museology consultant. He is also a wargamer, retired Lord General of the Roundhead Association and a good storyteller. He won the Cameron Mackintosh Contemporary Playwright Award and has had his plays performed in London and at the Edinburgh Fringe.

 

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